Singapore Grand Prix 2012: Live coverage

LIVE: Singapore Grand Prix – follow all the action from the Marina Bay Circuit

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UPDATED:

12:52 GMT, 23 September 2012

Phil Duncan F1 blog

The Formula One circus has parked up in the glamorous surroundings of Singapore for round 14 of the 2012 world championship.

After making its debut in 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix, which is staged completely under floodlights, has become a social highlight in the F1 calendar.

Make sure you don't miss any of today's action by following our dedicated coverage. And you can join in on Twitter, or by sending an email to [email protected]

Click here to follow our dedicated Formula One service on TwitterSingapore Grand Prix: Lap 25 of 61
Sebastian Vettel leads from Jenson Button
Lewis Hamilton retired on lap 23 with a hydraulic issue
Fernando Alonso is fourth

Lap 24: 'We did everything we could,' is the message to Hamilton who appeared to be nursing a problem going into today's race. Should they have taken a gearbox change and sacrificed a five-place grid drop

Lap 23: LEWIS HAMILTON IS OUT. Head in hands down at McLaren as the 2008 world champion pulls over seemingly with a box full of neutrals. What a blow for Hamilton in his quest for the championship. Vettel leads.

Lap 22: Alonso is turning in some decent times. The Ferrari driver is almost one second quicker than Hamilton as he hunts down Pastor Maldonado. His team-mate Massa has set the fastest lap of the race after stopping for a second time.

Lap 21: Bruno Senna is enjoying a handy race. He's up to 12th after starting way down the order. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg who has finally pitted, is now the quickest man on the track. He's in 14th.

Lap 20: Twenty laps in, and we haven't seen a safety car yet. Back in the battle for 10th and Schumacher is still keeping Raikkonen at bay. The Finn really doesn't need this, but he is failing to make much of an impression on the seven-times champion.

Lap 19: Hamilton is 1.7 seconds ahead of Vettel with Button keeping the pair of them honest. The 2009 world champion is three seconds down on Vettel.

Lap 18: Di Resta sweeps past his team-mate Hulkenberg to re-take sixth position.

Lap 17: Hamilton doesn't look as comfortable during this phase of the race. Vettel has taken almost one second out of the British driver over the last three laps, with Button chipping away at the pair of them in third place.

Lap 16: Alonso is now on the gearbox of Nico Hulkenberg – the Force India man is yet to pit after 16 laps – in the battle for P5. Hamilton leads from Vettel, Button and Maldonado.

Lap 15: Alonso makes his way past Sergio Perez, who is yet to pit, for sixth. Up front, and Hamilton is 1.5 seconds clear of Vettel with Button a further four seconds down the road.

Leading the way: Hamilton is ahead of Vettel as the McLaren man goes in search of back-to-back wins

Leading the way: Hamilton is ahead of Vettel as the McLaren man goes in search of back-to-back wins

Lap 14: Jenson Button is the last of the leaders to pit as Lewis Hamilton re-takes the lead of the race. A slowish stop for JB, but he exits the pit-lane to find a clear track and he's behind both Hamilton and Vettel.

Lap 13: Button currently leads the Singapore Grand Prix as Hamilton sets the fastest middle sector of the race on his new set of boots. And that's Vettel past Raikkonen as Maldonado pits.

Lap 12: Vettel on fresh tyres is all over the back of Raikkonen who is yet to pit. And in comes Hamilton after reporting a problem with his right-rear tyre. A sub-3 second stop for Hamilton and he exits the pits ahead of the battle between Raikkonen and Vettel.

Lap 11: Vettel exits the pits in 12th and he quickly dispatches of Sergio Perez for 11th. Surely, he'll lose a whole host of time in this traffic though. The world champion has got Raikkonen and Schumacher for company.
In comes Fernando Alonso from fourth.

Lap 10: Button's looking very handy here. He took almost two seconds out of Vettel on the last lap as Bruno Senna is told he has a problem with first gear. It doesn't appear to be affecting the Brazilian. He's looking racy in P15 after starting 22nd. And in comes Vettel for his first stop of the day. It's a McLaren one-two at present.

Under the lights: Hamilton makes the perfect start

Under the lights: Hamilton makes the perfect start

Lap 9: Button has turned in a decent couple of laps here. The 2009 world champion is now less than six seconds behind Hamilton as Timo Glock has a brush with the wall. A wee error for Vettel at the chicane and he's now 2.3 seconds down on the race leader.

Lap 8: Massa is on the soft compound tyre after his stop at the end of lap one. His pace will be used as a handy barometer for team-mate Alonso as Webber comes in for his first stop of the day. The Aussie changes to the soft-compound tyre.

Lap 7: Button was quicker than both Vettel and Hamilton on that lap. Who will blink first Those on three-stoppers will be thinking of pitting in the near future. 'You are by far the quickest person', Felipe Massa is told. Indeed, the Ferrari man is almost one second quicker than the leaders.

Lap 6: Raikkonen is now just two tenths behind Schumacher in the battle for 10th. Being a street circuit, it's nigh on impossible to pass around here. Paul Di Resta, linked with a move away from Force India for next term, is enjoying a reasonable afternoon. The Scot is in P6 with the Red Bull of Mark Webber for company.

Lap 5: Hamilton is now a mighty 6.7 seconds ahead of team-mate Button. Today's race win will surely be a straight fight between Hamilton and Vettel. Meanwhile, Massa who is plum last sets the fastest lap of the race.

Lap 4: Hamilton is 1.7 seconds ahead of Vettel. Further down the pack and Kimi Raikkonen, who lest us not forget is third in the championship race, is looking racy on the gearbox of Michael Schumacher who sits in 10th.

Lap 3: Alonso suffered a poor start of the line and he was fortunate to maintain his fifth position. The Spaniard however, is already seven seconds down on Hamilton. Surely it will be a damage limitation job for Alonso today.

Lap 2: The 2012 misery goes on for Felipe Massa as the Ferrari driver pulls into the pits with a left-rear puncture. Back on track and Hamilton and Vettel, who have been the class acts this weekend, have already pulled out a decent gap on Button in third. Hamilton is 2.1 seconds ahead of Vettel.

Lap 1: Perfect start for Lewis Hamilton who beats Pastor Maldonado in the drag race down to Turn 1, but the Williams man out-breaks himself and loses second to Sebastian Vettel before Jenson Button makes his way past and move into P3. Maldonado is fourth with Fernando Alonso in fifth and Paul Di Resta P6. Further down the grid the Caterhams have come together with Vitaly Petrov limping back to the pit-lane with a damaged front wing.

12.57pm: We're just moment away from the start of the Singapore Grand Prix. Can anyone stop Hamilton Will Maldonado score his first points since winning the Spanish Grand Prix in May And will we see the safety car for the fifth constructive year Stay tuned to find out.

12.52pm: 'Praise the lord for air conditioning,' writes Sportsmail's motor racing correspondent Simon Cass. 'How these drivers race for two hours around the sweltering streets of Singapore I will never know.

A new deal is signed and we will be coming back here for the next five years. At Monaco the champagne is drunk but the deals are done at Singapore. That might just apply to a certain Lewis Hamilton. Should he stay or should he go Only he can decide but he looks to have a cracking chance of a third win in four if he can stay out of trouble…mentioning no names, Maldonado. Great opportunity to take a chunk out of Alonso’s 37-point lead.'

Driver's parade: Vettel will start from third for today's race

Driver's parade: Vettel will start from third for today's race

12.48pm: The Marina Bay Circuit pauses for a moment of reflection for Professor Sid Watkins – the former head of the on-track medical team – who passed away last week this month. Watkins, known simply as The Prof, helped saved the lives of many drivers over the years, and for that the sport will be eternally grateful. The one-minute silence is observed impeccably.

12.43pm: Jenson Button could have a big role today in supporting his team-mate. He starts in fourth: 'All is okay,' Button said. 'It is always a very special race because it is at night time.'

12.40pm: Down to the grid and we'll start with the two Nicos. Here's Force India's Hulkenberg who starts in 11th: 'Yesterday didn't go to plan and that's why were here in 11th. If we survive the first lap I think we can have a good result today. I don't expect carnage just because Maldonado is there. There is always potential for a crash but you take nothing for granted.'

And Rosberg, who starts in P8: 'I can tell you it is very hot (inside the cockpit). This is one of the toughest races of the year because there are no long straights to relax. It's also one of the longest races of the year.'

12.30pm: Today's grand prix is arguably the toughest on the calender. The intense heat coupled with the tight, demanding track ensures there is no room for error. Indeed, there we've seen a safety car at every occasion since its 2008 debut.

Championship lead: Fernando Alonso has a 37-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton heading into today's race

Championship lead: Fernando Alonso has a 37-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton heading into today's race

Grid girls

12.25pm: Hamilton's future remains a hot topic in Singapore, but just as in Monza a fortnight ago, it doesn't appear to have affected the 2008 world champion. His lap in qualifying was nothing short of outstanding, and the Brit knows another 25 points today will see his chances of claiming a second world crown improve ten-fold.

12.15pm: Good afternoon one and all, and welcome to today's coverage of the Singapore Grand Prix. And what a race we have in store.

Lewis Hamilton will start as the favourite to claim a third race win in four races after blitzing the field on Saturday. The unsettled McLaren star was almost half-a-second quicker than his closest rival in yesterday's qualifying session. He'll have the accident-prone Pastor Maldonao alongside him, with Sebastian Vettel in third, Jenson Button starting fourth and championship leader Fernando Alonso in P5.

Tribute: Hamilton signs the book of condolences for Professor Sid Watkins before the Singapore Grand Prix

Tribute: Hamilton signs the book of condolences for Professor Sid Watkins before the Singapore Grand Prix